4 JULY - 16 DECEMBER 2022

hawke archives

In July 1991 Prime Minister Bob Hawke said
“the Government’s achievements in promoting greater recognition for women and our ability to plan for a better future depend on our capacity to listen to the women of Australia."

The 2022 Federal election saw the creation of the most diverse Australian Parliament to date with record numbers of women, independents and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Many commentators suggested this was the result of the electorate having had enough of a government and political parties taking them for granted and ignoring their concerns, especially among women voters.

hawke archives

Where did the community frustration stem from? Australia was the first nation to give women the right to vote in elections along with the right to stand for parliament. The second wave of Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in reforms and changes in society and government policy that continued throughout the 1980s. Women’s participation in the workforce and education soared through the 1970s and 1980s. The Hawke Government had a strong agenda for improving social justice including the rights of women at work and at home.

But after leading the way, Australia is now falling behind in equity measures. Women still have not achieved equal pay. Women are over represented in casual and part time jobs and underrepresented in parliaments, leadership roles and boardrooms. The burden of caring whether in families at home or the care industries falls disproportionately on women. Women and LGBTIQ+ continue to experience harassment and violence.

This exhibition explores the fight for women’s rights since Federation and the progress made towards equity, inclusion and diversity pertaining to gender in Australia. It celebrates the gains in reproductive rights, education and workplace involvement while also highlighting there is still much to do.

This exhibition can be viewed in the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery alongside the Hawke Centre’s Advancing Australia Fair, Bob Hawke and his Government exhibition. The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library welcomes you to explore the Bob Hawke Collection.


hawke archives

4 July - 16 December 2022
Open weekdays 9am - 5pm, until 6pm on Thursdays

Kerry Packer Civic Gallery
Hawke Building Level 3, UniSA City West Campus
55 North Terrace Adelaide MAP

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library


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While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.

Images: Top Right: Police with women demonstrating during the Economic Summit at Parliament House, April 1983 (NAA A6180 15/4/83/6) Middle Right: Presentation of the Australian Women’s Suffrage banner on International Women’s Day in 1988, Senator Margaret Reynolds (Minister for Local Government and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women), Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Jim Kirk (Chairman, Australian Bicentennial Authority), Hazel Hawke and Edith Hall (Convenor, National Women’s Consultative Forum) (NAA A6180 10/3/88/4) Bottom Right: Prime Minister with Australia’s first Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pam O’Neill, July 1984 (NAA A6180 20/7/84/15) Images from the Bob Hawke Collection, reproduced courtesy of the National Australian Archives